California Braces For A Potentially Busy Wildfire Season

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, April 24, 2009

California is gearing up for wildfire season.    Officials say dry conditions could keep firefighters busy this summer.

Capital Public Radio's Steve Shadley reports…

State Fire Marshall Kate Dargan has been looking at long-term weather forecasts, and she says they don’t bode well for California.  Dargan says it looks like rainfall will be in short supply this summer. 
That’s got her concerned about the potential for an outbreak of wildfires similar to what happened last July.  That’s when firefighters from California and neighboring states were stretched thin battling thousands of fires.  Dargan says an unusual series of dry lightning storms sparked those blazes and it could happen again… 
“The potential for that is there every season.  If you get the storms lined up in just the right configuration just like we did last year…it’s a repeatable event.  So, last year is when we had so many of those storms at one time…and I’d never say that isn’t something that we have to be prepared for…”
Dargan says some local fire agencies are expecting grants through the federal economic stimulus package to train firefighters this year.  

Cal Fire is reminding people to start clearing vegetation now within 30 feet of their homes.  They also say plants and trees should be spaced far apart within an additional 70 feet of structures.